"Regional Capitol in the North Mayan Highlands" Huehuetenango by atufft

Huehuetenango Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 15 photos

From Lago Atitlan to San Cristobal de Las Casas

On New Year's Day, buses were very hard to find. But, since our vacation time was running as quickly as the last grains of sand in an hour glass, we had to find whatever chicken bus we could to continue from Lago Atitlan through to San Cristobal de Las Casas in just one day. The frosty climate of the American Highway as it climbs into the Mayan Highlands made travel even more difficult. We eventually bargained for a ride in the back of a pickup truck with a host of other vagabonds. The one advantage of this was the opportunity to shoot pictures without the impediment of a windshield or dirty passenger side window. Along the way, we passed pine forests, mountain coffee plantations, hillside corn farms, and mountain pueblos. By HueHuetenango, referred to as HueHue for short, this ride came to an end. Exhausted, we chose lunch over an immediate hop into a taxi that with the others would arrive at the Mexican border within an hour. So, we decided to walk into town and have a look around the streets of Huehue.

Nestled in the Cuchumantes Mountains...

the highest range in Central America, Huehue sits in a valley at an altitude of some 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). The residents of Huehuetenango are mostly of Mayan descent, mainly from the ethnic Mam ethnic group, but also from the Chuje, Kanjobal and Jacalteca, and the surrounding 31 political districts are divided largely by ethnic representation. During the Mayan classic period, 250 to 900 AD, the entire region was part of the Mam Kingdom, but later the Quiches pushed the Mams into the immediate vacinity of HueHue itself. Above the city on the banks of a river, the classic period Mam built city, Zaculeu, can be found, but unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit this restored ruin, known for having a ball court in good condition. We did wander the fine old colonial era zocalo where we found a taxi willing to drive us to the Mexican border. We ate lunch at a local restaurant and then left.

The Journey Through to San Cristobal de las Casas

From Huehue, the mountains become drier and the passage between them very narrow. In places where the canyons were very narrow indeed, I could see clearly why the Spanish had such difficulty subduing the region. At the Mexican border, formalities were few and we waited just minutes to have our passports stamped. From there, we caught a local van direct for San Cristobal de las Casas, perhaps a couple hours away.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Huehuetenango is off the beaten path and very Mayan
  • Cons:Accomodations and restaurants are few
  • In a nutshell:Huehue does offer a good stop in transit along the American highway
  • Last visit to Huehuetenango: Jan 2003
  • Intro Written Mar 7, 2007
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Reviews (3)

Comments (4)

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    Huehue is one of the more colorful regions of Guatemala from some of the people that I have met. A lot of the civil war took place in this area, too.

  • leonik's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2007 at 6:39 PM

    wish i'd spent more time in this city... was just there to spend the night en route to chichi.

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2007 at 6:56 PM

    tks for taking me to Huehue! Good pics and that blue sky haunts me to this day. Totally share your travelling spirit :) Didn't see Huehue, crossed Guatemala quickly into Honduras.

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2007 at 2:55 PM

    Beautiful page Alan. Your photos are very evocative, and yours is the only page about Huehue! Thanks for keeping me updated.

atufft

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